Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A to Z Guide to Selling More: B is for Benefits

Clients buy benefits. They buy "What in it for me?”

They buy

· Make my life easy.

· Increase my profits.

· Save me money.

· Help me get more done in a day.

They buy to achieve aspirations.

· Help me reach my potential.

· Make me thinner, kinder, smarter, sexier.

Benefits sell, so make sure selling conversations focus on them.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A to Z Guide to Selling More: A is for Action

Today marks Day 1 of the A to Z selling guide. Hope you enjoy it! Good Selling!

A is for Action

Action counts when you’re selling. Pick up the phone. Call someone. Get an appointment. Learn by doing. If you do more, you’ll sell more.

Want to sell even more? Here are a few handy “A” words.

  • Assess.
  • Analyze.
  • Adjust.

Remember that most of life is a habit and so are most actions. You’ll get further if action is mindful.

  • After acting, assess the outcome. Did you get what you wanted?
  • Whether you win or lose, analyze why the outcome happened
  • Adjust. The next time action is called for, make a shift and see if the outcome improves.

Friday, March 25, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Take Me to Your Leader

Within every workgroup, you have some staples: there’s the slacker, who can’t be counted on for anything except to show up when the job’s done, in an effort to soak up accolades…the willing but uninspired follower who’ll do whatever’s necessary, but has to be told what to do at every step…the constant critic, who knows how everything should be done, but isn’t crazy about assuming any real responsibilities because he’s already overcommitted to so many things requiring his brilliance.

And then there’s that mysterious, elusive character — the leader. Amid the flow of personalities and work, very few understand what it really means to be a leader.

Good leadership is often hard to define, but everyone knows when they’re working with a good leader just like they know when they’re operating in a leadership vacuum.

Some leaders are natural managers, which is the job of making sure processes are running efficiently and regularly improved.

Others are visionaries, less effective with day-to-day operations, but impressive innovators and new-thought leaders.

There are contradictions as well: take-charge personalities don’t always make the best leaders, and folks who made straight A’s in school often become better specialists than generals of men and women.

Some group circumstances thrive from servant-leaders, those low-key people who bring up the rear rather than charge from the front, because that’s how they gather insight on what has to be done, and how it can be sustainably done. Individuals may have influence but few leadership skills, just as certain leaders may have authority but fail miserably at behaving responsibly.

And, very often, people with robust leadership abilities do not collaborate well with other strong leaders like themselves. Queen bees have been known to fight to the death.

So what’s a plausible working definition of a leader?

Over the next couple blogs, I’ll be discussing this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Have you heard of Small Business Saturday? It's a movement started by American Express OPEN declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday. So far, over 1 million people have joined the movement!! More information can be found online here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sitting Differently Can Improve Cold Calling

I watch people cold call. Often salespeople are slumped in their chairs, shoulders drooping. This body language communicates low energy. Slumpers look like they expect defeat before they even pick up the phone!

That's dangerous because this often causes the The Law of Self-Fulfilling Sales Prophecies to kick in and failure increases.

And when a salesperson feels defeated, I promise you that prospects sense the mindset. It comes across in voice tone, even when there isn’t any face-to-face contact.

In the May/June issue of Scientific American Mind, there was an article titled "Stop Slouching—Good posture boosts self-esteem.” Harvey Black reported on an article in the October 2009 issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology. Researchers found college students who sat up straight with their chests out felt more confident and had higher self-esteem than students who slouched.

There is wisdom in this finding for salespeople. If you want to come across as confident and competent, make sure your body language reflects that. When you come across in a positive way, The Law of Self-Fulfilling Sales Prophecies works in your favor and you increase the odds of success.

Friday, March 18, 2011

KeFactors Friday: How to Plan a Good Murder

This is one of my favorite stories, from a veteran high school teacher, Mr. R., who was covering an ethics unit for a senior [critical thinking] class.

After covering the fine points of ethical thought and behavior, the big assignment was to get into small workgroups to plan the perfect murder.

Students who’d been disengaged lit up and got involved. Individuals who hated group projects re-engaged with enthusiasm. Kids in other classes said, “AwwwI wish I had that class.” For a couple days, even Facebook was deserted in favor of this assignment.

By deadline, these bloodthirsty students had their Powerpointed schemes all worked out. That is, until Mr. R. asked the showstopper question:

This is a unit on ethics. Did anyone at any point speak up against this?”

They stared at him the way a lab full of monkeys would stare when all the bananas are inexplicably removed.

“But you sort of gave us permission,” argued one student, “when you made it a homework assignment."

“And we all know it’s not for real,” said another. “No one really gets hurt.”

I know that in business many things can be forgiven if the right outcomes ($$$) are produced, and in recent years it’s become socially acceptable, even hip, to laugh over the “cleverness” of people who win profits by pulling off some ethical sleight-of-hand.

But here are the questions that teacher posed:

If someone in a position of authority initiates or sanctions what you know to be wrongdoing, does that make it all right?

If you’re told that it’s not for real, if you can’t see the victim, or are assured the wrongdoing is a victimless crime, does that then make it all right?

This teacher told me every once in a while he’d have a student who’d raise their hand and say, “Hey, Mr. R., I don’t get this. We’re studying ethics so why do you have us planning a murder? Isn’t that wrong?

Bingo—automatic “A” for that unit.